Vision Series: Harriet Yale

Part two! On this blog I will interview some people I have met along the way who are living their dreams, or happily trying to do so, to help you see that it is possible. To help you see it is not all picture perfect either, but more than worth it if you fully embrace your path. This time I have the honor to present to you: miss Harriet Yale! She is a Physiotherapist and Pilates teacher from Liverpool, England. I met her while she was travelling in El Salvador. Now, having returned to England in October, she's feeling ready to continue her journey in a different way.  And I am incredibly grateful we have kept this friendship going through lots of skype conversations and celebrating New Year together in exotic Belgium and watching Spanish TV shows.

After university she chose not to take the most traditional route, and instead followed a path that felt right to her to see where it would lead. "Along the way I’ve made so many friends, connections and discoveries and I am yet to find out if some of them will lead me in new directions but I’ve realised how important it is to go and do things that feel right and not question them too much", she says. 

You can follow her on Instagram under @harrietgrace13, on twitter @HarrietYale and through her blog:

But for now, let's hear her story!



What are the three main themes your life is about? (values, emotions, concepts)

I strongly value my connections to other people, understanding people's point of views and ways of life. I find anything different to what I already know, fascinating, and the depth of knowledge you can gain from absorbing the insights of other people is invigorating.

I certainly don’t have any difficulty expressing raw emotions, but understanding them is another challenge altogether. This is something I’m constantly working towards.

Spreading kindness is a concept that I believe will slowly spread positive energy throughout the world. Trusting and helping people will help others trust and help and spread love. The world can be a tough place at times but we do have the power to change that. Nothing is set in stone. Nothing is inevitable and if more people believe we can change the world, then nothing would be stopping us.

What does your vision for life look like?

When I think about the future, I don’t see many solid pictures as I’ve learnt how uncertain and changeable the future is. To be honest, this idea soothes me, rather than scares me. I like that things are completely open to chance and although good and bad things may happen, I feel that every day I become more and more ready to face whatever may be round the corner.

I realise I haven’t answered the question, so as far as what I do see in the future, well, I see a piece of paper with faintly scribbled sketches on it. These are the ideas that float around my head. When one starts to become a reality, the picture becomes darker and splashes of colour are stroked onto the page, creating my near future. It’s a bright and positive future, that I have the power to create myself.

When did it start to take shape in your mind?

Everyday, new information filters through my senses and into my brain. Here, working away in the background, thoughts and ideas are being generated, starting to take shape before I am aware of them. This is why I believe it’s important to take an interest in anything that inspires you, even if it doesn’t seem to fit into your bigger picture at the time.

Though I have a professional identity as a physio, I try not to let that define me and box me in. There are so many opportunities to use the skills you already have, it’s never worth limiting yourself. I decided to study physiotherapy when I was 16, after I had treatment myself. More recently, my vision for the role I may fulfil in the future is developing but constantly changing. Initially I wanted to set up my own clinic and Pilates retreat centre, then to work in sport or performance (theatre and artist tours), and now I’m exploring public health both nationally and internationally. That is where I’m at right now and I’m excited to see where that might lead. Even if it is somewhere completely different.

When/why did you make the decision to fully embrace it and go for it?

I started to adopt this attitude when I was about to leave University, that is, to go with what feels right as opposed to what I had been conditioned to think was the right path to take. I don’t remember a defining moment because I think I have always been an explorer deep down. I used to write stories and play imaginary games when I was younger where I’d grab a backpack with not even essentials in there (just my teddy of course) and set off on an adventure. Travelling just started to make more sense, so I’d dream and read and the anticipation built with my savings, and I just decided to take the leap. During my travels I realised that exploring places isn’t the only adventure. Life is a fascinating expedition in itself and I could do that anywhere. The more I grew out in the world, the more I knew myself and what I wanted. And my next step of the journey was back in England, working as a physio...for now.

How far along are you in making it your reality? Has it shifted a bit since you first started?

My ideas and goals shift all the time. Not because they aren’t satisfying me, but because I allow them to evolve and grow along with me. And I feel like I’m well on my way in my journey now. I can definitely see when I first started but I see no real end point. I feel I’m on an endless journey now, one where I can stop and smell the roses at each place then tread slowly and carefully on, to keep on this wonderful path.

What have been the biggest obstacles/challenges along the way and how do you deal with them?

I went through a stage when I was away when a bit of a self-confidence issue surfaced, one that I realised had been holding me back for a while. I started a self-esteem meditation pack on Headspace which helped, went diving and met loads of cool people and then started working at a hotel. Here, I had the opportunity to throw myself in the deep end and prove to myself that I am unique in my skill sets, they do matter and they can produce results I’d never imagined I could. For example, before this I did not see myself as a painter or a good surfer but I realised I had some skills in both and it lead me to painting decent murals and teaching successful surf lessons. Just because you don’t fit the conventional view of talent in an area, doesn’t mean, that what you can do, can’t lead you to some amazing achievements.

What have you learned from choosing to chase your vision that you did not expect?

How satisfied I could feel with uncertainty. It seems like such a scary concept but I experienced how kind people can be, how little is needed to actually live and how many exchange type set ups there are out there, like Work Away. It made me relax and realise there will always be a way to survive so I decided not to work to survive but to live and enjoy every day. I thought this must have been fantasy but its a real possibility.

Do you have any practises that balance you out, or keep you grounded along this path?

Writing is my main medium to work through difficult thought processes and meditation helps to help me clear the clutter when confusion accumulates. Yoga, Pilates, food that makes me feel good and suitably long sleeps help me heal and stay strong mentally and physically. I find talking to friends that share a similar curiosity about life helps to make sense of things in a similar way to writing but this way your words talk back at you and help you see things in a different light.

What mantra/thought keeps you going?

Go with the flow and find the silver lining.

What do you wish you knew before starting? Any advice for others? Books or resources?

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts is a book I only recently discovered that I would really recommend reading as it presents amazing attitude towards travel. A point of view I wish I had when I first started travelling. I ended up working it out on the way but I feel I would have got more out of those first few months of travel, having known this.

Have you had any mentors or examples along the way? Fictional or real life, may be famous, may be your grandma.

Most of my inspiration for travel and living outside the box comes from many of the pioneers posting their ideas and inspirations all over the internet. I started listening to The Daily Travel Podcast with Nathaniel Boyle and found others like Inspiring Adventurer which just opened me up to so many possibilities I didn’t even know where there.

In Physiotherapy, the owner of the clinic I am currently working at, my boss and mentor has played such a vital role in allowing me to develop in the way I have and will hopefully continue to do so. I worked with her before I went travelling, part-time, after completing my Pilates teacher training with her and was encouraging in my decision to leave. Before I returned from my trip she offered me a full-time position to return to. Now, there is a focus on training me in what I feel I need to work on, as well as wellbeing in the work place, where everyone feels truly valued. I really couldn’t ask for something better. Sarah (boss) is also fully supportive of the potential for me to explore other avenues in physio, in the UK and abroad, and I have a feeling I’ll always be connected!!

Thank you Harriet! I love you.